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Global

A personal experience Vee Freir is a semi-retired clinical psychologist who worked as a volunteer in the press office at the Emirates Stadium, mainly on the badminton competition, but also in the Velodrome. Known as the Clydesiders, the volunteers won accolades from the public and press alike, and were honoured in the closing ceremony when local synth-pop trio Pride played Messiah and dedicated it to the 15,000 volunteers who were so vital to the success of the Games. “I found it quite an emotional experience,” says Freir. “I think hosting the Games has shown the world a side of Glasgow they maybe didn’t know. I think the regeneration of east Glasgow, with the Velodrome and the Emirates, will encourage youngsters to take up sport.” www.global global four th quar ter 2014 -br ief ing.org l 81 commonwealth network The Long View around the clock. Atypical weather conditions meant that thousands of visitors to the city spent most of the fortnight bathed in sunshine and the smiling, cheery Glaswegians were as far removed from their stereotypical “I’ll nut ye” image as it was possible to be. Add to that the drama and pathos that inevitably accompanies such sports events – Hannah Miley winning Scotland’s first medal; the crowds cheering home Rosefelo Siosi of the Soloman Islands, despite the fact he had been lapped three times by the rest of the field in the 5,000 metres; Jamaica’s Usain Bolt dancing to The Proclaimer’s 500 Miles – and Glasgow had produced a winning formula. But, as the team at Glasgow 2014 has been at pains to point out since the city won the right to host the Games back in 2008, the event is only the icing on the cake – the true impact of the Commonwealth Games will be measured in terms of the legacy it leaves behind. In the run-up to the Games, much was made of the failure of previous host cities to make the most of opportunities spawned by hosting a major sporting event, with nay-sayers arguing that the effect of such events was over-egged anyway and all that a city would be left with would be a large bill, disused facilities and some faded billboards. “Who,” asked Ewan Murray, writing in The Guardian, “remembers the 2002 Games in Manchester? And Meadowbank Stadium, which hosted the 1986 Games for Edinburgh, is now an embarrassing metaphor for the city’s sporting facilities.” But Glasgow, driven by the ambitious Grevemberg, was determined to do it differently. It is a city that has always been prepared to push itself, to reinvent and to adapt. A trip to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery exhibition How Glasgow Flourished provides evidence of Glasgow’s historical aspirations to be a leading city, initially of industry but, over time, also of invention, education, architecture and, latterly, culture and sport. Certainly Glasgow 2014 has been Scotland’s most successful sporting event ever. More than 1.2 million tickets were sold, which was an unprecedented 96 per cent of tickets available, and a further half a million visitors viewed the cultural activities that took place alongside the sporting action. There was a global audience of 20 million. In preparation for the Games, £300 million was invested in the city’s infrastructure and new and updated sports facilities, and the city now has a new velodrome and a National Hockey Centre to add to its existing sports venues. It is way too early to assess how well used these venues will be, but David Sweetman, Glasgow 2014 in numbers 1 athlete made up the totality of the Brunei team (cyclist Muhammad I’maadi Abd Aziz) 10 days is how long it took the St Helena team to get to Glasgow 310 athletes represented the host nation Scotland at the Games 58 gold medals were won by highest-ranking country England 71 nations and territories took part in the Games 140 Commonwealth records were broken 1,500 people make up the entire population of Niue, an island off New Zealand – the smallest territory to compete 171,000 spectators watched the rugby sevens – the highest-ever viewing figures for the sport Kiribati’s Taoriba Biniati had never been in a boxing ring before arriving in Glasgow. Kiribati’s national boxing club consists of a punch bag hanging from a breadfruit tree Kenya’s Vincent Onyangi had not swum in open water before getting into Strathclyde Loch for the triathlon Clyde, the official Games mascot


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